Brooks School

Nicole Li

December 31, 2019

Where is home? 

It is such a simple question yet it brings such complicated answers. Some say home is where their families are, some say home is simply where they live, while others say home is the culture they grew up in. It could be a childhood house, a culture, or a state of mind. In a boarding school environment, there are so many people like myself who come from multicultural or international backgrounds. Spending their lives taking pieces of many different places and cultures, they create a puzzle that makes up their “home”. Home is really a work-in-progress. As people move on to new chapters in life, home changes and expands. Home is part of one’s soul rather than walls and a roof.


It may be difficult for some to figure out where they should call home. When we think of homelessness, what often comes to mind is not having a shelter or somewhere to live. That is one meaning of homelessness. However, homelessness could also be the lack of belonging. From my own experiences, the feeling of homelessness often comes from feeling torn between cultures thinking I could only claim one place to call home. There are times I certainly felt that in boarding school, feeling like I don’t fit in anywhere. Unlike homlessness, homesickness is simply being away from that sense of belonging, warmth, and safety that a home provides. Like many others, I felt homesick when I first arrived on campus. To me, home is more than a physical place; it’s a part of my identity built from fragments of my culture and family. Homesickness is not only missing a physical place but also missing the love and warmth of home. 


Is a boarding school home or a temporary place to live? This question came to mind when I thought about the amount of time I spend here, in this community, in this bubble. Some can easily call boarding school a home when they first arrived on campus while some take longer to feel at home; others may feel boarding school is merely a place to learn and live. Although my home will always be where my family is, boarding school has become my second home because of all the connections I’ve made here and the people I’ve met. Maybe your definition of home has changed as your journey through boarding school progressed. 


Home is built through love and relationships. With the Winter holidays coming up, I hope everyone celebrates with the people that make them feel at “home”. 


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